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The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change

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  • Ronald Lee

Abstract

The global demographic transition began around 1800 in Europe with declining mortality followed by declining fertility, trends which spread around the world and continue in this century. At the aggregate level, population size greatly increased, growth accelerated and declined with many countries now shrinking, and age distributions inevitably moved from young to old. Population aging has not yet run its course, Its effects exacerbated by declining retirement ages, straining pensions systems and prompting their reform. These aggregate demographic trends reflect profound changes in risks and behavior for individuals and families, and in the shape of the economic life cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:4:p:167-190
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003772034943
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Axel Boersch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2001. "Aging and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 8553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
    3. Fred C. Pampel, 2002. "Cigarette Use and the Narrowing Sex Differential in Mortality," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(1), pages 77-104.
    4. Paul Gertler & John Molyneaux, 1994. "How economic development and family planning programs combined to reduce indonesian fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 33-63, February.
    5. Ronald D. Lee & Ryan D. Edwards, 2001. "The fiscal impact of population change," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 46.
    6. Ronald Lee, 1987. "Population dynamics of humans and other animals," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(4), pages 443-465, November.
    7. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
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